What happened to the weather? Our recent return to normal temperatures has a lot of people sad at the loss of the heat and sunshine, but we are just returning to a normal weather pattern for a few days. This spring has been so nice that most of the plants are 2-3 weeks ahead of where they would be normally. All the festivals had great blooms and wonderful attendance. In fact for most of them the blooms came and went too fast. That means you need to get out to see the festivals when they first start this year or risk missing the best blooms. A couple of those events are happening right now. This week we feature the Iris Festival at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, and next week we will be at Adelman’s Peony Gardens. Both are in the Brooks area and are worth a visit right now.
While you are out and about, stop in at your local independent garden center and see some of the great color plants and take one home!
This week we featured...
Salem Hospital Therapy Garden
When you are injured or recovering from surgery, sometimes the rehabilitation can be the hardest part. At Salem Hospital they have recently added something special to help get their patients back up and moving again. We stopped by to chat with Pam Scott who works as a therapist at Salem Hospital to learn about the new garden they have for patients there in the rehabilitation area. An old courtyard on the 4th floor of the rehabilitation unit has been converted into a therapy garden, but it is more than a place with pretty plants. This garden is also an occupational and physical therapy garden. There are different textures on the ground and different types of steps and inclines. These different surfaces are designed for people with canes and wheelchairs to get used to different grades and surfaces so they can move around better and safer. This garden also addresses mental health issues too. For those who are going through long recoveries and therapy, the access to the outdoors in a safe environment can make all the difference in the world. It may seem like the garden is done, but there are plans for it to continue to grow and change to meet the needs of patients and staff. There are now plans for a raised bed for even more gardens which will be accessible to those in wheelchairs. All this has happened due to lots of support from the staff and the Salem Hospital Foundation.
This is not an open garden, so you can’t really stop by to see it, but we wanted to show you how gardens are being used for therapy in a hospital setting. If you would like more information on the garden you can contact the marketing department at Salem Hospital at www.SalemHealth.org.
Portland Nursery Bonsai
Bonsai is a great hobby for those that like to garden, but may not have any space to do so. The problem is that people tend to be intimidated about getting started. One of the best places to learn more about this art form is at Portland Nursery on Division (503-788-9000). We met with Sara to learn a little bit about bonsai. Bonsai is an art and can involve plants for indoors or outdoors. Most off the plants we are familiar with are the outdoor versions and varieties. Indoor bonsai is different and those plants have specific needs. The tools you need are the same for both types. The basic materials include a plant, a pot with good drainage with a screen to prevent the soil from leaking out. You also will need some shears for trimming foliage, a small rake for combing out the roots and a chopstick for moving soil in the pot and working the roots. You will also need a small amount of fertilizer for bonsai because normal fertilizer may burn the roots. If you are looking for some tips on getting started the Division street location of Portland Nursery is having an event in June that you will want to attend. On June 22nd from 10am to 3pm you can stop by for a bonsai show, bonsai classes and you can also meet members of the bonsai society. Check the Portland Nursery website for even more information about this great event and other classes.
Bauman’s Fool Proof Color Makeover
These days getting your garden in shape can be hard. There never seems to be enough time to do anything and the garden gets pushed to the end of the chore list when time is short, but it doesn’t have to be a chore to get things ready for the upcoming season. We stopped by Bauman’s Farm and Garden (503-792-3524) to get some tips for a garden makeover in record time. Bauman’s and Proven Winners have worked together to create ‘fool-proof’ color pots. Proven Winners are known for creating wonderful plants that perform well in any garden. Bauman’s has taken these plants and placed them in pots so you can just place them in your landscape. These plants are bred for full sun locations, but they can perform well in many locations around your garden. John from Proven Winners told us how they work with the natural characteristics of these plants to make them work well together in a container or in your landscape. For more information on these combinations you can stop by Bauman’s!
A lot of people are looking to do garden makeovers (we get requests from viewers all the time), but they are sometimes scared away at the price of hiring a designer. There is a new way of landscaping that can save you some money and may even get you some better plants for a better landscape. Rick from French Prairie Perennials (503-679-2871) has discovered a new system of design called ‘Visualscaping’. With Visualscaping you become part of the planning process. Now you don’t have someone telling you why you can’t have a plant in your garden, or telling you what is the best plant for you! Rick has clients come to the nursery and talk to him about plants and what they would like to accomplish. Then he makes a trip to their gardens and they nail down what they would like to accomplish. Rick goes back to the nursery and brings out the plants and places them around the yard so you can actually see the ‘look’ before you buy the plants. He can actually try many different plants in one area so you can compare them before you plant. With this ‘visualscaping’ you actually can use the money you would have spent on a plan to buy better plants. Rick also has a deep knowledge of the plants and how they will grow so you get a plant that will be there for years and not outgrow the space in just a few seasons and need to be replaced. If you are interested in trying visualscaping, give Rick a call at French Prairie Perennials.
Are you ‘space challenged’ when it comes to your patio or deck? Instead of spreading out your planters, consider going up! Donna Wright of Black Gold showed us how to stack your pots to add height to your plantings. We used smaller pots on top of larger pot and built layers of 3. We showed you how to build one with color, but you can also make one filled with herbs to keep outside on your deck to use whenever you are cooking. We also used the Black Gold Coco Blend potting soil. The Coco Blend contains coconut fiber that helps retain water so you water less often.
Schreiner’s Iris Gardens
Another of the showcase flower events in our area is the Open Gardens at Schreiner’s Iris Garden’s (1-800-525-2367). We stopped by and found that the blooms are at their peak. The spring has been great and the blooms have responded. Steve Schreiner took us out to the display garden to show us the great mixed beds. Schreiners is known for their great display beds and this year they are amazing! It is hard not to have fun with all this wonderful color. The scent in the display gardens is intoxicating. People forget that most iris have a wonderful smell. Each bloom will remind you of candy, sugar, bubble gum or some other great smell. In addition to the colors and smells they can also have some pretty interesting names. The flowers in the garden are also wonderful because they are all labeled and are easy to see even if you have limited mobility. Iris also make great cut flowers and you can pick up growing tips for your own garden, though they are one of the easiest plants to grow. They like full sun, have little or no disease and other than slugs, they have no pest problems. If you want to see the fields or the display garden you have plenty of time to do so, they will be looking good until the middle of June. Stop by and check out all the colors!
One of the most common pests in the NW garden is the mole. They can really tear up your flower bed and lawn. There are lots of products out there to deter them. Don Sprague of Don Sprague Sales (1-800-423-0158) has found that most of them don’t work too well. The products that don’t seem to work include the vibrators, the home remedies, and the gases and bombs. And with some of these products you may be doing more harm to your garden than the moles. The problem with getting rid of moles, if you don’t remove them, they will just leave and will return later. The best way of getting rid of moles is to trap them. Don showed us how to use the Cinch Trap. The Cinch Trap is VERY effective. This product will trap them and remove them forever.
Wild Fire Tips
With the warm and dry spring the plants are growing at a record pace, but that also means that things are getting drier to the point of possibly creating a fire danger for some homeowners. To get some tips on how to prevent wild fires we stopped by the Oregon Department of Forestry and talked with Tom Fields who is the fire prevention coordinator for the state of Oregon. He said that sometimes it is the little things that can cause the most damage. He recommends that you step outside the home and take a tour around your property and work from the top down. You should look at the roof and then down to the foundation and then out toward the areas away from your home. Simple things like leaves on the roof to debris in the gutters can all create s home for a hot ember. For gardeners we need to look at spacing. 3 to 5 feet of separation of your plant material from the base of the house will help create a buffer. You will also want to clear out the dry material from bushes and old dead limbs from the surrounding trees. You can also look at replacing some of your plants with fire-resistant plants. The OSU Extension website has a list of some plants to use. You are looking to make your landscape ‘Lean, Clean and Green’. Once those chores are done make sure you are ready to go if a fire does get out of control. Prepare a kit and supplies that you can grab in a hurry so you can escape if the need arises. For more information on wildfire prevention and preparedness check out www.KeepOregonGreen.org and www.Firewise.org.
The spring is here and that means the return of the Rufous hummingbird to local gardens, but did you know that we have had the Anna’s hummingbird here all winter too? The Rufous are just returning to the area for the summer. To learn more about these birds and how to keep them in the garden we stopped by Backyard Bird Shop (503-635-2044) and talked to Scott. He showed us some of the feeders that they have in stock and how to use them (and protect them) so the birds can enjoy them all summer long. One of the questions we have had in the past is one that they get at the stores as well, ‘doesn’t having a feeder create a problem for the birds by getting them to rely on a non-native source of food?’. Scott told us that the hummingbirds use the feeder as only one of the sources for food. The birds usually have multiple sources for feeding and that includes flowers and small insects. They know better than to rely on one source of food, they are pretty smart that way!
He then pulled out a little swing. It was the Pop’s Hummingbird Swing. This cute little swing actually serves a purpose. Birds will sit on it near the feeder to protect their food source. It really works.
Parr Fasteners and Screws
The spring means a return to home projects and one of the most important things we hear is to have the right materials to do the job right the first time. This includes fasteners and screws. We stopped by Parr Lumber (866-214-7277) to learn about the different types of screws you can find on the market. We first looked at the unique screws you will need for composite decking. These screws actually have their threads in two different directions. Amber from Parr told us that these are designed to pull the board closer to the deck and prevent ‘mushrooming’, or lumps in your deck. Next we saw the self drilling screw. These are used for drilling into metal because they can handle the extreme heat of drilling into metal surfaces. Then we looked at the more traditional screws. The first one was a yellow zinc screw. This one is designed for more interior uses because they are not coated for the weather. The next ones looked similar but they were designed for sheetrock installation. They have a phosphate coating which will resist the rust a little better than the yellow zinc ones. Another unique screw is a woodfast screw. These have a tiny washer on them so they can create a weather-tight seal around the screw when you attach it. Finally we looked at the different bits you will need for the job. There are set of bits that you can get for any screw you may have, but as Amber noted, most of the screws and fasteners also come with bits so you don’t have to buy one separately. If you are looking for a screw or fastener, your first stop needs to be at your local Parr Lumber location.
Naomi’s Lamp Changes
Your indoor lamps are one of the most overlooked décor items in your house. As you paint and decorate you just move them from one room to another and miss the decorating possibilities that they offer. To help give you some ideas we traveled to Naomi’s Lampshades (503-636-1884) in Lake Grove. Bea Searles is the owner and she brought out a couple of lamps to demonstrate. She made a quick change to one lamp that gave it a fresh new look. But the problem was the height of the new shade; it was sitting too low on the lamp so all she did was change the ‘harp’. The harp is the metal loop that goes around the light bulb to protect it and creates the structure to attach the shade to. The fitting of the harp is very important when changing the shade. Bea recommends that you bring your lamp into the store when you are looking for a new shade so you can see how the shade fits. You can even change the look by changing the finial which is the part at the top of the lamp. For more tips you can check out their website, or visit them on Boones Ferry Road in the Lake Grove/Lake Oswego area.